It’s getting kinda crazy up in here, people. My children have been out of school for exactly a month now. We have about 6.5 weeks left to go. Holy crap, I just looked that up to be sure. That’s longer than I thought!
I’m trying to enjoy summer with the kids, really I am. We made our summer “bucket list” in June, and everyone contributed all of their very excellent and creative and expensive ideas about how we, as a family, can squeeze every ounce of fun out of our short Upstate New York summer. Never mind the fact that in order to execute all of these fun things on the bucket list, both the hubby and I would need to get second jobs to have the money to pay for all the amusement park fees and movie tickets and road trip expenses, and then NOT ACTUALLY SHOW UP TO WORK AT ALL for 4 straight weeks so that we have the time to have all the fun. Who’s stupid idea was a summer bucket list anyway? My kids learned about this from school. They actually came home with a drawing of a bucket that they had colored and cut out, and there was lined paper on the front to write out all the ways that they hoped that their parents would disappoint them over the summer.
Let me give you an example to illustrate how well our family activities are going so far this summer. This is an actual conversation that occurred in the car today:
Kid: You know what we should do? We should go play glow golf! It’s so fun! I played it at a birthday party last year!
Other kid: Yeah! Glow golf!
Me: Glow golf? That sound fu–
Husband (interrupts): Are you kidding me? You guys are the WORST to play golf with! Every time we go golfing you fight over who’s going to go first, and cry if your ball goes in the water, and someone has a meltdown before we even get to the second hole. NO WAY am I golfing with you guys.
When it comes to parenting and family life, I usually look for the path of least resistance. Typically, I’m all about keeping things simple, planning in down-time, and not over-scheduling our lives. Everything with parenting has been feeling really hard and sticky and overly busy and difficult since summer started, and I haven’t been able to get a grip on why that is. Where are you, path of least resistance? And that’s when it occurred to me. THERE IS NO PATH. There may be a path from September through May, but in the summer, the path is hidden under piles of Goldfish crackers (also lovingly referred to as lunch), popsicle wrappers, summer camp schedules, wet bathing suits, and a huge pile of laundry that multiplies exponentially every hour because everyone changes their clothes four times a day.
Let’s talk about the fighting. Good Lord, please make it stop. I know my mother is laughing right now and you can just stop it, mom.
And bedtime. Disastrous. Every night. I never told them they were exempt from bedtime in the summer. But they seem to think that bedtime should be optional when school is not in session, so every night is like trying to herd wandering cats. Listen kids, if you want me to like you in the morning, you need to be in bed by 9 pm. End of story. Feel free to go at 8:30 pm for bonus points.
Don’t get me started on the mess. No one can “remember” to hang up their wet towel, or put their dishes in the dishwasher, or put things away. I told the kids I felt like a broken record, and they were all like, “What’s a record?”
I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but some days it feels a little bit like a house arrest situation. My guards are short, demanding, prone to mood swings, and hungry all the time. They do not allow me to have showers or bathroom breaks without supervision. They follow me everywhere. They interrogate me multiple times per day, often until I am close to tears. Their main tactics to break my spirit are constant interruptions, talking to me before my morning caffeine load, and repeating my name over and over. Sometimes I am allowed out of the house to drive them places or to gather additional rations. Sometimes they bring their friends over to help them make large amounts of noise.
In addition to driving everyone to and fro, the extra laundry, refereeing the fights, getting harassed poolside, and reading the same sentence in my book over and over (see constant interruptions in the previous paragraph!), I also have to make time to prevent summer slide. I usually don’t even think about summer slide until it is the end of the day, and then it’s too late! They have already slid. They are sliding, a little each day, and it’s all my fault. Today I broke our screen time rule and let them play video games for 2 hours straight because I just needed some peace and quiet and yes, it was glorious for me.
Moms and dads, fess up. Tell me what your summer looks like. Not your Instagram version, but the real stuff. The messy stuff. We need to talk about it. I can’t be the only one.